Nutrition in the Later Years

Authored by: Mary Ann Johnson , Alyson Haslam

Handbook of Nutrition and Food

Print publication date:  July  2013
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9781466505711
eBook ISBN: 9781466505728
Adobe ISBN:


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Older adults are a diverse and growing population. They range in age from 65 to more than 100 years and include the very fit and the very frail. Older adults vary in ethnicity, culture, income, mobility, knowledge of nutrition and health, health behaviors, and health status. The main nutritional problems are poor food patterns and nutrient intake, as well as a high prevalence of overweight and obesity. The requirements for most essential vitamins and minerals do not change with advanced age, with only a few exceptions. Requirements for calcium and vitamin D are increased and the recommended chemical form of vitamin B12 changes to crystalline. Decreased lean body mass and low physical activity are the main determinants of the low energy requirements of older people. Paradoxically, older adults are at increased risk for both overnutrition (overweight and obesity) and undernutrition, with the accompanying problems of nutritional deficiencies and weight loss. This chapter will review the primary nutritional problems associated with aging and recommend ways to improve the nutritional status of older people.

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